Monday, January 25, 2010

Weather prayers answered

In the last post, I was wishing and praying for more snow.  The weather deities responded generously.  Three storms hit us with snow, rain, and hail.  When the clouds lifted I snapped this shot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.   Click on it to check out the enlarged version.   

I've been reading books on mountain lions and will review two of them in my next post.  I'd like to hear from others who have had encounters with mountin lions in the wild.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Downhill bounding, bobcats, and a prayer for snow

It’s that tough time of winter—the freeze and thaw cycle is in effect, and we haven’t had new snow for awhile. It’s an icy world out there in the forests. When I get out in the backcountry less, I find it a challenge to make art. I am not a believer in making excuses for not practicing one’s profession, though, so I am making art all the same. I plan on working on some watercolors of ravens and bluebirds today, but who knows what may happen when the brush is in the hand.

This photo, looking west to the Jemez Mountains from the top of Picacho, indicates how bereft of snow the south and west slopes are.

The snow is hanging on a little longer at higher elevations and on north-facing slopes, as this second photo shows.  When I shot this, I was about to bound down the spiny ridge at right center.  Thompson Peak is the backdrop.

Thanks to a marvelous little product called the YakTrax traction device, which is essentially snow chains for running shoes, I am still out there running. I’ve been enjoying running up Picacho, getting warm on the steep ascent, and then bounding downhill off-trail, into Bear Canyon.  Downhill bounding in snow is one of my favorite activities. The socks get a little wet, so I save it for the end of my run.

I continue to encounter bobcat tracks and scat everywhere, as well as the occasional retreating bobcat, and I conclude that bobcats are doing well indeed in my little corner of the Santa Fe National Forest.  I am concerned for the deer I’ve come to know in the area, however.  I am sure that they are not happy at the proliferation of their bobcat neighbors. May we all coexist with the least possible suffering.